1) You’re the first Ski & Snowboard School in Val d’Isere to offer this type of course and opportunity to school leavers, what made you want to undertake such a venture?
It was the next challenge having run the school for a few years. It is fun and I like seeing people progress over a longer period both in terms of their skiing and their personalities.
2) Would you always encourage school leavers to embark upon a gap year?
Absolutely regardless as to whether it is a snowsports programme or not. We see students grow up so much over quite a short period of time so it is more than just a ski or snowboard course. It is a great experience and one that will live with them for the rest of their lives.
3) Did you do so when you left school? Was Progression Ski & Snowboard School the product of that gap year?
There wasn't really such a thing when I left school. I booked a one way ticket to Geneva and ended up in Val d'Isere. I stayed for half a season before going to Chamonix to finish the season and then on to Canada for the summer. I didn't realise at the time but I learnt so much from those experiences which meant I was better prepared for university and life thereafter.
4) To set the scene, can you describe what your students are to expect on an 'average' day on your Progression Gap courses.
There isn't really an average day. Three of the eleven weeks are taken up with instructor exams which are predominantly on the hill five full days a week. Seven of the weeks there is coaching each afternoon Monday to Friday from BASI trainers, ex GB team members, race coaches, high mountain guides and freestyle specialists. Breakfast and dinner and provided along with accommodation and lift passes. There is a lot more to it than that with extra off piste lessons, social events, sports evenings, mountain hut trips and heliskiing so every day is different but every day is a great day.
5) And finally, perhaps a little controversial; why should a recent school-leaver choose Progression Gap rather than say, Ski Le Gap in Canada?
Of course every person has their different needs and experience but lets start with the resort. Val d'Isere offers a far better resort than say, Tremblant to start with and in real terms is probably the best all round resort for such a course. Larger, greater variety, more challenging. GAP courses are not one or two weeks long so students should consider the terrain and resort as a major factor when deciding and we believe there is no better than Val d'Isere and Tignes. Val d'Isere offers big resort facilities but a small resort feeling so everything is in easy walking distance. What Progression offers is a programme within an established ski school so few parts of the programme are farmed out to other suppliers. We have our own instructors, our own programme, our own physiotherapists and in resort team so it has a great family feel to it. But best of all our coaching is second to none. We focus on a wide range of strands and offer specialist coaches for each strand so students are constantly challenged and pushed. We also offer BASI qualifications which are recognised throughout Europe and the World where as North American qualifications are not. I could go on and on but I would bore you!
To find out more about Progression Gap and to speak with Ken himself, please visit their website. Make sure you secure your place on this course and become that inspirational ski instructor you remember from your childhood memories...